Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Joy of Painting

Squad Kartoffelkopf  is complete.  If anything, I'm going even slower. Edge highlighting will be the death of me. I had to wear two pairs of reading glasses to get some of the detail on the Inceptors.  And there's a lot of detail on these new marines if you want to paint all the fiddly bits. In the words of Executive Officer Kane, "We've come this far. We must go on".

 As usual, I've signed up for a tournament (Call To Arms) and not left myself sufficient time to complete the army.  So its becoming a bit tedious now but I knew I'd never finish 1500 points without some sort of deadline.  I kept finding excuses to not be at my paint station.  It was only by listening to Bob Ross on repeat loop that I was able to get back into the zone and reach servitor levels of blank concentration.  At one point I came to my senses and realised that I was painting an eight pointed star on the desk with the model lying discarded next to my water pot.  I had no recollection of starting this doodle and quickly shut down YouTube.

In retrospect, I believe that Bob's hypnotic voice had gently lulled me into a partial state of heresy.  Wearing thin the tenebrous membrane between our own reality and the warp.  Or possibly I was just drunk.  I reckon ol' Bob was maybe only about a dozen paintings away from punching a hole into the realm of Chaos and unleashing a horde of rampant, unctuous daemons into our midst.  His legacy should be carefully scrutinised by the Holy Inquisition in my opinion and perhaps redacted.

I'm not really sure how to use these flying marines.  They've got a 'Hammer of Wrath' type rule which (rarely) lets them do mortal damage on the charge.  So I thought they would be great assault units but Ork boys just laugh uproariously and then dismantle them for spare parts.  They don't even have a specialist close combat weapon.  Their 'assault' bolter and high mobility is best used at range to harass the enemy I think.

However, they cost 75 points each and you can only take a unit of 3 with no weapon options.  This seems overcosted.  I can take a fully blinged out Predator Annihilator for less points than a squad of Inceptors. It hits harder, from longer range, is more durable and almost as mobile (moves further but can't fly).  So why people would ever take the squad in a competitive setting is a mystery.  I think they look pretty groovy and maybe the new codex will improve them but the SM Codex is not allowed in the up and coming tournament so I'm not even going to bother buying it yet.

I'd much rather buy a Redemptor Dreadnought if I had $100 spare.  That thing is awesome. The designers/sculptors must have been playing a lot of Titanfall when they came up with this concept.  The way the front panels open up is exactly like the way a robot chassis opens in the game.  Except that instead of a badass, ninja pilot inside, it disgorges a sarcophagus with dismembered corpse interred.  You've got to love 40k.  I kind of love Titanfall 2 as well though.  They actually put an excellent single player campaign into what is essentially a multiplayer game. Unheard of!

Anyway, I'm rambling. Time to finish the Lieutenant and Captain.  Every day's a good day when you paint.  There are no limits here.

Monday, 17 July 2017

On the edge-highlight of madness

Squad Panzerschreck complete.  Again it took far longer than I anticipated.  Being a naturally untidy person I struggle to be neat.  I could never stay in the lines when I was given a colouring book whilst growing up and didn't think it mattered.  I had no idea it was an important life skill.

I can do fine detail no problem (although I have to wear reading glasses now) but consistency and uniformity are hard.  Thats why I like tentacles.  I probably should have built and painted the Death Guard in this set.  Chaos is more my style.

But I really like these marines and think I've hit on a good colour scheme so I'm going to crack on.  I'm about half way through now, although I keep looking at the Captain in Gravis armour and fervently wishing that I hadn't glued him together.  He won't come apart with gentle persuasion so I'm going to have to paint the cloak around his backpack, weapon and legs which will be a bit of a nightmare.

The Hellblasters are an interesting squad.  The supercharge rule is a little confusing (although the Designer's Commentary does clarify).  I can re-roll natural 1's with the Captain nearby and avoid blowing myself up.  But if I roll a 2 whilst trying to hit a Flyer (-1 to hit) I still explode (re-rolls always happen before modifiers).  My probability theory is a bit rusty but I think thats a 22% chance of each Hellblaster dude exploding if he tries to supercharge flyers, even though he is stood next to a captain.  Not sure I like those odds.

They are also toughness 4 marines at the end of the day and armour piercing rounds can still tear them apart.  In my last game they were obliterated in the first turn by a Tau Ghostkeel which did 16 damage in one salvo.  Admittedly, it was wielding so many Fusion weapons that I wondered if it might implode into a small black hole but its the sort of thing I'm likely to face in competition.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Questionable Behaviour

 The weird thing about the Dark Imperium boxed set is that I don't like the Intercessor Sergeants.  Don't get me wrong, this is the best starter set I've ever owned (who didn't love the purity seal on the miniatures tray inside?).  All the models are great but they are more or less mono-pose.  Thats not really a criticism.  It makes sense to have miniatures which are easy to build in the starter set.  If they'd put a Tesseract Vault in there then it might be a stumbling block to the 11 year old just getting into the hobby.  Far better to have some toy soldiers which you can throw together in a couple of hours and start playing.  It will take years for that 11 year old boy to realise that he should have spent at least a week cleaning up all the mold lines and injection points as well as carefully dry-fitting all the components to prevent misalignment and glue leakage.  Thats if he is still playing at all.  Most people have casually thrown the box into the back of a cupboard at this point and moved on.  Anyway, the point is that I'm turning into a crusty old git who has gotten quite fussy about the hobby.  But I still don't like those sergeants.  And I've got nothing better to write about so here goes:

The first sergeant is not wearing his helmet.  If he was on a humanitarian aid mission for NATO forces, trying to gain the trust of the indigenous population then this would be totally acceptable.  Establishing eye contact and showing people that you are human is important in establishing a rapport.  However, in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium, he is a genetically engineered freak on a quasi-religious crusade to eradicate the enemies of the Holy Emperor in the most violent manner imaginable.  Therefore, he should be wearing his helmet.

Its not that big of an issue really.  He might have needed to take it off temporarily to blow his nose.  From a hobby perspective it makes the model more interesting. It differentiates him from his squad and he stands out as the leader.  It allows you to try out that Cadian Fleshtone which came in the set.  So not a huge gripe then.

No, my main issue is that he is pointing at something.  For some reason I really don't like models in this pose.  It always reminds me of that 40k meme with an Imperial Guard tank commander shouting, 'Drive me closer! I want to hit them with my sword!'.  As an 8 foot killing machine I believe he should be pointing with the huge gun he carries, not his finger.  It conveys a much more meaningful message.

"Listen up, men! You see that ork over there who's head I just exploded?  I wan't you to shoot in that direction.  In fact, as a general rule of thumb, if you see me blowing shit up then you should blow it up too.  Use your own discretion of course, but it saves time and increases accuracy if I don't have to let go of my weapon. I can't issue orders directly over the headset because I'm not wearing a helmet."

So I've decided to put my own interpretation on it and he is giving the sign of the horns.  Not sure why.  Maybe he is falling to Chaos.  Maybe its a military hand signal.  Maybe he is warding off the evil eye or just likes heavy metal.

I also swapped his weapon arm with the other sergeant.  This was partly because I didn't like the way the purity seals appear to defy gravity on the original.   There is definitely something wrong with that pose.  The purity seals are hanging upwards, his arms are all over the place and he looks like he is about to trip up.  I wonder if he is some sort of mish-mash from an up-and-coming regular boxed set?  It would make sense to have a box of fully pose-able, Primaris tactical marines with weapon options in the future (and helmets for everyone!). Maybe these mono-poses are just the prototypes.

Regardless, I've switched guns of the two sergeants and reposed the arms/stance of the second sergeant to make it look like he is reloading; ramming a fresh magazine home into the bolt rifle.  I still think he looks awkward but if you were trying to do something requiring manual dexterity whilst completely sheathed in several inches of ceramite plating, your arms and chest twice their normal circumference, you'd probably look a bit awkward too.

I'm not sure which of these two to paint up for my 1500 point force.  I'm already using a Lieutenant in place of the sergeant in the other Intercessor squad so I only need one more.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

One size does not fit all

After another drubbing in a game with my new Space Marine army, I decided to take stock.  My eldest son lit me up and then took me down with Tau drone spam in the latest match and it was yet another tabling. I realise that I'm not a particularly decent player but this is ridiculous (I built my opponents' lists!). So I decided to do an inventory of my Adeptus Astartes models and see if I could redeem myself in the sight of our beloved God-Emperor (thats right, He is a divine being according to the annals of the Red Scorpions, you filthy apostate!**)

Ahoy there!

I currently own:
22 Primaris Marines, 25 bog standard marines, 4 Devastators, 3 Bikes, 2 Librarians, 1 Chaplain, 10 assorted Deathwatch (including another bike), 31 Terminators, Command Squad bits, 5 Assault Marine jump packs, 10 Forgeworld Red Scorpion shoulder pads, 1 Razorback/Rhino, 1 Stormraven Gunship, 1 Thunderfire Cannon, 2 Psyfleman Dreadnoughts, 1 Nemesis Dreadknight, 1 Dirty Coteaz and 1 warp-dust coated Draigo.

Brother Tarquin had a defective Ossmodula gland but managed to scrape in by standing on tip-toes during the medical.

Not exactly awe inspiring but quite a lot for someone who apparently didn't play Space Marines until last week.  Most of it is just filler from various starter sets and the vast majority of models are half eaten by Tyranids or still on the sprue. The Stormraven and Rhino are fully painted, strangely.  I was thinking of attending Call To Arms this year as an incentive to build a 1500 point army out of this hodge-podge.

I probably want to use the vehicles as they seem to be quite good in this edition.  Unfortunately, in a stunning display of fluff retcon from GW, my Primaris marines are unable to embark upon any of them.  Yep, one size does not fit all.  They can't even stand on the running boards, gangster style or crawl around inside on all fours.  Its... Its just...  By The Emperor's 10,000 Year Old Bedsores!  This is Heresy, I tell you!

What to do? Normal tactical marines are super cheap and easy to assemble with my Forgeworld Red Scorpion shoulder pads.  They also sit comfortably inside a Stormraven without any of that awkward 'elbow etiquette' preventing them from enjoying the in-flight meal.  They come with deckchairs equipped as standard.

Squad Leprechaun

So I built a small squad of them, trying to look as retro as possible in direct contrast to the Charles Atlas physiques of my Primaris uber marines (who apparently don't bend at the waist).  I don't have any Mk IV helmets so Beakys and Command Squad Champions will have to do.  Notice how my sergeant is an apothecary so at least I got something right.

**We are in no way affiliated with the Word Bearers heretic astartes.  No sir.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Tell me when it kicks in

Squad Dauntless complete.  It took a bit longer than I thought.  I sat painting with Duncan Rhodes' sage advice echoing in my head like an Oracle: "Try to be as neat as you can, because it saves time later on".  Duncan's Slaaneshi, imaginary twin was also whispering in the back of my mind somewhere, "Make his eyes look like Cookie Monster!" but I ignored him.

I'm conscious that I could probably have painted fifty normal marines by now, but I can't stop because I'm on a roll.  Its all coming together.  I can almost smell the unguents used by the Tech-Priest to bless the power armour.  The chanted, monotone prayers and the addition of purity seals.  The solemn declaration of the Oath of Moment.  By Jiminy, I'm going to paint a Space Marine army!

I had my first game with them last week.  Incredibly this was with my son who has not picked up a 40k model since I forced him into Games Workshop on his brother's 12th birthday and made them both build the Dark Vengeance starter set.  He was less than enthused with the whole thing so I decided to fix it by buying him a new army.  I then bought the older son a new army just in case he ever wanted to play.  I may be a bad father.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, as they say.  Both my kids are video game junkies.  They show a passing interest in the lore of 40k but thats about it.  I occasionally join them in an inept display of online Overwatch.  Mostly I am relegated to standing there as Reinhardt, holding my shield up or tethered to another Reinhardt like an oversized Tinkerbell playing as Mercy.  I once rebelled and said I was going to play a DPS character.  Switching to Genji nearly gave me an epileptic seizure and I blinked over cliffs constantly as Tracer. "How's that Tracer working out for you, Dad?"  they asked me innocently.

So I was very surprised when my youngest actually asked me if he could try out a game using the new 8th ed rules.  I built him a 1000(ish) pt list of Orks (his chosen army back when he was 9) being careful to put some nice toys in there to keep it interesting.  A Big Mek with a Shokk Attack Gun, missing his left arm.  An Ork truck with every single gun in the box glued onto it at bizarre angles.  I remember him asking me what was the point of putting all those guns on the sprue if you weren't supposed to glue them all on.  Flawless logic, but then he doesn't understand the power of the bitz box.  He had some Killa Kans which he had actually gotten round to painting.  Lots of Deffkoptas and Boyz.  I decided to take it easy on him and only use the Primaris Marines in the new starter set.  He tabled me in 4 turns.  It might have been sooner if he'd gotten that first turn charge off.

My oldest son has also expressed an interest in tabling me with his Tau.  I never knew that beating their father savagely into submission was the hook that was needed to grab their attention.  I might need to buy some new toys for my Marines in order to salvage some pride and demand a rematch (my Nids tabled them in a practice game too).  I can already see that this is turning into a sickening downward spiral of plastic crack addiction.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Strength in Purity

So this post should have been about my new Genestealer Cultists and how simply fabulous they are darling.  You can see some half finished Neophyte Hybrids in the background.  They have great rules, fantastic models and a new edition to play in. I got busy painting with a view to trying them out in a game or two.

My attention started to wander almost immediately.  This is a bad sign.  I kept glancing at one of my posters on the wall as I vacillated.  It was a picture of Veteran Sergeant Zhyr, one of the most bad-ass looking Space Marines ever to grace the pages of Imperial Armour.  He's the commander of the 6th Tactical Squad, 6th Company, Red Scorpions.  A chapter I'm well acquainted with since they have had a few run-ins with the Tyranids in the past. The Anphelion Project is one of my favourite 40k books (never actually played the campaign but the artwork is stupendous and the story is straight out of Aliens).  Sergeant Zhyr is sometimes cited as 'The Perfect Space Marine' since he actually looks like an anatomically correct (post) human.  A fine figure of a man with a big sword and a robotic arm.  The fact that the Red Scorpions chapter are an isolationist bunch of Space Nazis with the battle cry, 'Strength in (genetic) Purity!' and may well be a successor chapter of the Word Bearers is irrelevant.

I'd just built a load of well proportioned Space Marines from the 8th ed starter set and they have armour which is very reminiscent of Mk IV. So what happened next was inevitable.  I ditched the GSC and painted a test model for a Red Scorpions Primaris Marine.

Given my failures in the past I decided to seek help and Google informed me that Duncan Rhodes of Warhammer Community fame should be my mentor.  His explanation of 'wet brushing' left me a little confused but it turns out I've been using a similar technique for ages.

I duly followed the instructions apart from the colours; I didn't have the correct paints for Red Scorpions and I'm not even sure what they are. I decided to use my Tempestus Scions colour scheme i.e. Mechanicus Standard Grey, Thunderhawk Blue and Fenrisian Grey.  I also had no yellow (well I thought I had yellow but it turned out to be an empty husk) so I rummaged around in a drawer and found an absolutely ancient pot of Iyanden Darksun.  When I opened it, there was actually a dark blue, milky film on the top but with a bit of judicious stirring it turned out just fine.

The finished result looked nothing like the marines on GW's website or the box art.  No surprises there and it happens to us all.  A little crestfallen, I decided to research further and discovered that if you want to get serious with Space Marines then you have to develop an edge highlighting obsessive compulsive disorder.  Jesus, when they say edge highlighting, they mean highlight every edge on the blasted model until your eyes shrivel, dry up and fall into your skull!

Undaunted, I modified one of my paint brushes so it was basically the thickness of a butterfly antennae and set about it.  I was pleased with the result.  So I carried on and started doing 'recess shading'.  And that was good too.  So I painted the weapon. And added detail.  And free-handed the Red Scorpions logo. And put a decal on it. And a decal over the decal. And based it. Holy shit, I think I'm falling in love with Spesh Mreens!  This means I might be starting a fourth army.  Duuuurrr! Wrong answer!  Hopefully its just a passing phase and I'll go back to the cold unity of the Hive Mind given time.  But first I think I'll finish the squad.  I think I'll call it 'Squad Dauntless'.  I sincerely hope I am not reduced to naming individual models.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

One size fits all

These Primaris Space Marines are huge.  The posing is great and much more dynamic.  It actually looks like there is a post-human inside that armour rather than a mannequin.

I have to admit, I like them.  Even a whinging Nid player like me can appreciate that this is progress.  In comparison, Termagants are the size of large dogs rather than small ponies.  That feels about right to me.  I don't have a marine army though and if I'd spent thousands of hours building and painting an Astartes force over the years, maybe I'd feel different.  The look and feel is close enough that you can fit them into your regular army without it looking like a glaring inconsistency.  Some SM players probably won't give a toss anyway.  Just chess pieces on a board and this is another set to collect.  As long as they are 3-colour, tournament ready and WYSIWYG they will be good to go.

Still not as tall as my kitbashed Necron warriors though.  Those buggers tower over everyone! (I may be compensating for something)

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Falling off the edge of the Blogosphere

Don't push me
I wasn't completely unaware of the events unfolding in the 40k world.  But I was wary.  The carefully managed hype train and inclusive fostering of the community was quite fascinating.  It was almost a courtship.  Overwhelming endorsement of the internets is all a bit surreal really.  Even the salty element, who own a bajillion leprechaun marines secretly want to start a new army of super buff marines.  At this point it doesn't matter if the game is actually shit or not because I believe.  I haven't rolled a dice in anger yet but I'm sure this is going to be the best edition of 40k evah.  The turning point, for me, is the Return of The Swarmlord.

Septimus wondered if he would ever get the stains out.

I watched an 8th Edition battle rep on Frontline Gaming featuring Nids vs. Ultramarines. Everybody's favourite bullet magnet, Swarmy was leading the Nids.  I fully expected him to receive yet another pasting and was not disappointed.  However, there were several points which made me sit up and take notice.  For instance, Swarmy arrived via Tyrannocyte exactly as planned.  There is no scattering or rolling for reserves in 8th Edition (Mawlocs are tactical geniuses now).  Then there was the fact that he ran 18 inches across the board and punched Roboute Guilliman in the face.   The Lord High Poobah of the Imperium himself.  That really got my attention.  This game is going to play a hell of a lot faster.  He could have won too but for some bad dice.  Robot Girlyman's counter punch was utterly devastating of course but hey, he is practically a living God who can hold his breath for half an hour in a total vacuum.  I wasn't expecting miracles.  As it was, Roboute barely made it out alive and was finished off by a handful of frickin' Termagants (+mommy).  Oh sweet, sweet ignominious death by chaff units!  There is justice in the world after all.  Of course he keeps coming back to life like the son of a God he is.  He's the daddy now in Newhammer.  Papa Smurf vs. Papa Nurgle in the final showdown of all humanity!

Look into the face of fear!

In a moment of weakness earlier this year I bought Deathwatch Overkill but the box remained more or less untouched for several months.  All the marines are still on the sprue (they're too small for me now.  I want the big boys) but I've been building up my GSC slowly but surely and converting many an unsuspecting Chaos Cultist to the Four Armed God.  I even found an old Chimera which I dusted off and renamed 'Limo'.

This is my first Genestealer Cult conversion.  There may not be more.  Its more of a vignette really and my favourite Scion, Septimus Clegg makes a comeback.  Not sure how Septimus is going to get out of this one.  But he'll think of something.  Anyway,  the small child inside me which used to stay up all night on Christmas Eve because he was so excited by the prospect of new toys is awake.

Lets get reeeeeeady to ruuumble!